On a typical day when you first open my car door in the parking lot of Christophe’s kitchen your first sensation will likely be the smell of something delicious emanating from the kitchen. Sometimes the fragrance is distinctly that of barbecue and smoked meat. Other times it’s a more Italian flair with garlic and onions. And other times you may not be able to identify the smell on it other than to say, “Wow this smells amazing.”
Absent the smell of delicious food you wouldn’t have any idea from the front of the building that it houses a commercial kitchen. Walking into the front office you’ll encounter a familiar row of offices and a hallway. Walk down the hall and turn right you’ll see a small, internal office with a few windows: Chef Christophe’s office. Three more steps past the office you can push through the swinging doors into a very large, brightly lit (8000 sq foot commercial kitchen). On any cooking day you’ll encounter several chefs in coats chopping, peeling, roasting, sautéing, weighing, plating, and doing all the other things you might expect to see a team of accomplished chefs doing to make hundreds of meals at a time.
Chef Christophe looks up and sees you. He hands off his tray to Enrique, the kitchen chef, to come speak to you. He stops by the hand washing station on his way out and then leads you back the 10 feet to his office. The first thing you likely will notice (after his grin) is that Christophe is wearing a hairnet. “You get used to it” he says in a distinctly French accent. If you ask Chef Christophe how someone from France (about an hour outside of Paris) ended up (i) in a large kitchen in Berkeley Lake, (ii) leading a team of chefs that (iii) prepare anywhere from 300 to 700 meals in a single day multiple days a week, he will likely respond with a question: “how much time do you have?” Christophe’s story is fascinating though it’s too long to recite here. It would make for a compelling documentary. The super-short version is that he started in French culinary school at 14, worked in several very prestigious restaurants in Europe including a stint in the Monte Carlo Hotel (yes the James Bond hotel). He then came to Atlanta to work for the Ritz Carlton in 2001. After coming to the States and several twists and turns in his professional and private life he found himself here as executive Chef for his eponymous meal delivery company: Christophe’s.
Christophe’s seems to be the largest and most well established local meal delivery companies in Atlanta. They feature a weekly rotating menu with a tremendous variety of food that caters to many diets including paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free, and more. According to Christophe, “Many of our customers have come to depend on us for meals nearly every week. So we have to keep things fresh so they do not get tired of what they are eating.” The menu does not disappoint. And the quality is what you would expect from a French Chef with more than 3 decades of culinary experience. If you are lucky enough to get to visit the kitchen you will invariably be asked to try something. You won’t want to pass it up. “But we don’t generally give tours,” remarks Christophe. It is, after all, a commercial kitchen and not a traditional restaurant. His meals are made exclusively for Christophe’s metro-Atlanta delivery company, which delivers meals to customers throughout the city four days per week every week.
As your time with Chef Christophe draws to a close and he escorts you to the door you likely will notice the many photographs of food on the walls. Christophe has become an accomplished photographer over the years and the photographs are just a very few samples of his work. The photos on his website also are all taken by Chef Christophe himself. “It’s a bit of an art,” he says, “a hobby I enjoy.”
If you are interested in trying Chef Christophe’s meals (or just seeing how he photographs his food) you can visit his online store at christophestogo.com. The website has a How it Works section that further explains how his service works (note no subscription is required). In no time you’ll be enjoying Chef-quality meals in the comfort of your home. You can enjoy 10% off by using coupon code GOOD10LIFEqws